From KO to CKO

April 22, 2018
I was invincible until that moment. A born athlete, I was blessed with an unbelievably strong body. I could do anything I put my mind to except weight loss. My weight was always a constant challenge in my half Italian, pasta loving life. It was a battle I felt I never could win.  Nevertheless, in high school playing four sports a year and cross training, I fell in love with bodybuilding. I trained like a maniac with the intent to enter multiple bodybuilding contests but each time a contest came around, life got in the way. I continued on and in my 30’s, I was at my weight lifting peak, bench pressing 215 lbs. and leg pressing 795lbs. but I needed to change things up.  My sister introduced me to CKO Kickboxing and what a total game changer!! Where else could you find training that worked ALL of your muscle groups at once, added cardio to the mix and showed results as quickly as a snap of the fingers? In addition to that, it was fun!

I attended class after class at CKO & never thought that my prior bodybuilding would ever land me in a doctor’s office. I WAS INVINCIBLE…. I would always be that way. Until that horrible moment when my doctor told me that I could never kickbox, run or participate in any other impact inducing activity (like Spartan Races) because it could cause paralyzation from the waist down.

The first bout of pain came when I was carrying in a load of wood to heat our home. Over the next few days it intensified with shots of pain down my legs and up my back that took my breath away. The pain continued to get worse and I sought the help of a chiropractor.  When traction failed to work and I started to lose feeling in both my feet, I was told to see an orthopedist.  An MRI and various tests later, showed that I had degenerative disc disease and a severe lower spinal compression. On top of that I had major nerve damage and the sheath that surrounded my spinal column was infected.  As per my doctor, all of this damage was most probably caused by the heavy weight loads I lifted in my 30’s. The doctor said there was nothing I could do but wait.  I was given medicine to fight the infection and had to wait out the long process of the nerves repairing themselves. I was pretty much told to suck it up and not do anything stupid.

My back injury was an incredibly humbling experience. It forced me to do the one thing I never had to do in my life….. ask for help.  I couldn’t even do easy tasks like turning over in bed and flipping off the light switch. My husband and son had to do it all for me. I spent the next year of my life trying to function at work and the rest of my time sitting on the couch on my heating pad. I was a burden to others. I spiraled into a deep depression, gained 20 plus pounds and wondered if I was better off dead. There was no light at the end of my tunnel, until my husband told me one day to get my head out of my ass because my life wasn’t over. He said that I had to do my best to, “improvise, adapt and overcome.” After multiple pep talks from him as well as from family & friends, I decided to refuse to give up.  I used the knowledge I gained from my personal training certification to spend a second year taking the baby steps I needed to reform and strengthen my body to be able to do the activities that I loved, but on an adapted level.

With unending encouragement from my CKO trainers and fellow gym rats, I embarked on the final chapter and third year of my transformation story and began my fitness journey towards the WBFF Fitness Atlantic CKO Transformation Division. It has been full of hard and frustrating work that has completely paid off!

CKO has completely changed my life. In all my years of memberships at various gyms throughout NY State, never had I found a place that I was truly comfortable exercising in until I walked through the doors of the Warwick CKO.  Everyone’s fitness journey becomes so much easier with that first step due to the openness of its members and the familial environment. Each trainer fills their classes with such enthusiasm, each with their own special style making every class different and fun.  There is no better way or place to see your fitness goals come to reality than at CKO… It has been a total blessing in my life!

Make the choice to be a survivor of your life events and remember to always: improvise, adapt and overcome. Most importantly: NEVER GIVE UP!